Todd Husak's Keys to the Oregon State Game

Aug. 28, 2008

Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at tonight's Stanford-Oregon State game.

Consistent Quarterback PlayStarting quarterback Tavita Pritchard needs to be consistent, but not spectacular. When his mechanics are good, especially his feet, he is accurate with passes. When his mechanics are sloppy, he can miss badly at times. If he can be steady, not make mistakes, and make a big play with his arm, the Cardinal can be dangerous on offense. Also look for him to make a big play on the ground with a scramble or a designed QB run.

Run the Ball on First DownIf Stanford can get some second and third down and short yardage opportunities, it will take the pressure off of Tavita and open up the playbook for some big play opportunities. The offensive line needs to allow the backs to get a full head of steam and stop penetration, but I like the running backs as a group and think they all possess the ability to break tackles and make the first defender miss. On the flip side of the coin, long distances create more pressure on the offensive line to hold their blocks and for Tavita to throw the ball down the field, neither of which has been strengths in the past.

Create Havoc on DefenseErik Lorig and Pannel Egboh are as athletic and talented a pair of defensive ends in the conference and they need to play up to that potential. Creating pressure on the opposing QB with 4 or 5 rushers allows more defenders to drop into pass coverage while still forcing early and errant throws. Stanford needs to create some turnovers, sacks, and tackles for loss to slow down the high powered OSU offense.

Make One Big Play on Special TeamsA big return or a block kick can be the difference in a close game. Stanford has some inexperienced but dynamic returners in the punt and kickoff game, so how they handle the pressure will show itself early. Stanford also has some special athletes that can cause headaches for Oregon State and if they can get to the punter, it would be a big swing for Stanford.

Start Each Half FastStanford doesn't have much experience winning, but there is enough young talent on the team to score points and make some big plays. Starting the game fast will create some confidence and momentum, but it is important that Stanford starts the second half strong to keep it going.

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